Sunday, November 29, 2009

GCstar Personal Collections Manager

I use GCStar to keep track of my Movie collection. It's great!
GCstar is an application for managing your collections. It supports many types of collections, including movies, books, games, comics, stamps, coins, and many more. You can even create your own collection type for whatever unique thing it is that you collect! Detailed information on each item can be automatically retrieved from the internet and you can store additional data, such as the location or who you've lent it to. You may also search and filter your collections by many criteria.
After installing Karmic the automatic information retrieval from the Internet wasn't working. To install the latest version that fixes this problem just do the following:
  • Add the GCStar PPA to your Software Sources (System > Administration > Software Sources)
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/gcstar/gcstar-dev/ubuntu karmic main
  • Install GCStar
$ sudo apt-get install gcstar

Friday, November 6, 2009

Installing Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala (on the Desktop)

After installing Ubuntu 9.10, codename Karmic Koala, in my laptop it's time for the desktop.

I'm also doing a clean install because I want to use ext4 as my filesystem and I'm gonna lose the Windows partitions. Yes, 100% Ubuntu.

It's possible to convert ext3 to ext4, but I prefer a clean install.

I will be the using the 32 bit desktop cd (ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso).

Before you start


  • Backup your data
  • Make a list of software you want to recover after the clean install and all the preferences/options you use. This will make you post install easier and you can start working faster.
  • Make a list of the extra Software Sources you use
  • Check the Release Notes
  • Download Ubuntu
  • Check the file hash (example: md5sum ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso) and compare it to UbuntuHashes
  • Burn a cd (you can use Brasero, for example, if you already use Ubuntu)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Installing Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala 64 bits (HP Pavilion dv5-1020ep)

Last week Ubuntu 9.10, codename Karmic Koala, was released.

I'm doing a clean install because I want to use ext4 as my filesystem. It's possible to convert ext3 to ext4, but I prefer a clean install.

First my laptop. I will be the using the 64 bit desktop cd (ubuntu-9.10-desktop-amd64.iso).

Before you start

  • Backup your data
  • Make a list of software you want to recover after the clean install and all the preferences/options you use. This will make you post install easier and you can start working faster.
  • Make a list of the extra Software Sources you use
  • Check the Release Notes
  • Download Ubuntu
  • Check the file hash (example: md5sum ubuntu-9.10-desktop-amd64.iso) and compare it to UbuntuHashes
  • Burn a cd (you can use Brasero, for example, if you already use Ubuntu)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Virtualbox 3.0

Following previous posts about installing Virtualbox, here's the 3.0 update (currently 3.0.8).

If you have a previous version already installed you need to manually install the new one.

Install

  • Go to System > Administration > Software Sources and Third-Party Software.
  • Add the following sources for Intrepid (check your distribution here)
  • Download and register Sun authentication key
$ wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Be sure your source list is updated
$ sudo apt-get update
  • Be sure you have dkms installed (so Virtualbox host kernel is automatically updated as you update your system kernel)
$ sudo apt-get install dkms
  • Install Virtualbox 3.0
$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-3.0
  • Logoff and login again
  • Start Virtualbox at Applications > System Tools > Sun xVM VirtualBox
  • If you want you can optionally register your VirtualBox installation
  • If you have a Windows Virtual Machine don't forget to install the Guest Additions (after starting the virtual machine go to Devices > Install Guest Additions).

Friday, June 19, 2009

VirtualBox Kernel driver not installed

After installing the new 2.6.28-13 kernel yesterday, running a virtual machine in VirtualBox aborts with the following error:


As the message says, the VirtualBox Linux kernel driver for the running Linux kernel isn't installed.

To re-setup the kernel module you just need to:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Add a new partition to your system

Imagine you buy a new hard drive. Here's a few easy steps to create a partition in that drive, and a mount point, so you can have that partition available to you at boot time.

If you have an easy way to add a new partition in your system, let me know.

I usually use GParted to create the partition.

Add a partition

Just follow the following screenshots to create a partition in GParted. Make sure you choose a Label for your partition. In this example is Storage.


 

Create a mount point to the new partition

Now that you have a new partition created, you need to create a mount point. Basically a mount point maps a partition to a directory.

In this example we will map the partition Storage to the location /media/storage.

  • Find out the UUID (Unique Unit ID) of the device
$ sudo vol_id -u /dev/sdb1
  • Create a folder for your new mount point
$ sudo mkdir /media/storage
  • Open /etc/fstab with gedit (or your favourite editor)
$ sudo gedit /etc/fstab
  • Add the mount point using the UUID you got before, save the file and exit gedit
UUID=ad02cb4e-f9cf-491a-b661-d96ed2c456be /media/storage ext3 relatime 0 2
  • Add permissions to the mount point to youruser
$ sudo chown -R youruser:youruser /media/storage
$ sudo chmod -R 755 /media/storage
  • Reboot and confirm that /media/storage allows you to create your files and folders and has the size of the new partition

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Filesystem check in your USB external hard drives

Typically, every number of mounts, your partitions are automatically checked (e2fsck) at boot time. This will check and repair your hard drives.

But, if you have external hard drives connected only when needed, this automatic checks aren't performed.

I recommend you to check your hard drive after like 30 mounts. See what is the maximum mount count in your internal system hard drive and use that count as reference.

I will list a number of useful commands to gather information about your drives and to check and repair them.

If you have suggestions, please let me know.

Checking your partitions

Use the command tree to list all your partition and find out witch device you want to check.

  • Install tree
$ sudo apt-get install tree
  • List all drives
$ tree /dev/disk
  • List drives by label (probably more easy)
$ sudo ls -l /dev/disk/by-label

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sync any folder outside your Dropbox folder


If you don't know Dropbox, try it. Basically you can sync your files between computers and OS's.

You define in each computer you install Dropbox a "Dropbox folder" (it doesn't need to be the same in every computer) and every file and folder inside the folder will be synced.

Example - Computer A - Linux
/home/youruser/Dropbox/folderA/
/home/youruser/Dropbox/fileA.txt

Example - Computer B - Windows
C:\My Dropbox\folderA\
C:\My Dropbox\fileA.txt
In this examples, the folder folderA and every file and folder inside, and the file fileA.txt, are synced between both computers.

Only the files and folders inside your "Dropbox folder" are synced, but if you create a symbolic link to a file or folder outside the "Dropbox folder" it will also be synced.

Create a symbolic link
$ ln -s '/storage/outsidefolder/fileB.txt' '/home/youruser/Dropbox/insidefolder'
$ ln -s '/storage/outsidefolder/folderB' '/home/youruser/Dropbox/insidefolder'
The fileB.txt and the folderB will be synced into your "Dropbox folder" and synced into the the "Dropbox folder" in Computer B.

Check how to create symbolic links in Windows here.

Problem

If you try this between two similar Linux computers, the files in the second computer will not be created in the same outside folder. It will stay in the "Dropbox folder" of that second computer.

fileB.txt in Computer A: /storage/outsidefolder/fileB.txt

fileB.txt in Computer B: /home/youruser/Dropbox/insidefolder/fileB.txt

If you know a way to do this please let me know by commenting in this post or by sending me an email :-)

Bandwidth


Here's my cable connection bandwith. It's a 8Mb/512Kb connection, so the results aren't bad.


You can check your connection here.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Recovering the update-notifier icon in Ubuntu 9.04

If you have installed Ubuntu 9.04 you probably noticed by now that the update-notifier icon no longer appears when there are new updates available. Instead the Update Manager window opens.

This may be a problem if you don't notice that window and shutdown your system. After that you have to wait for new updates (and notice the Update Manager window that time) or manually look for updates.

To get the update-notifier icon just run the following:

$ gconftool -s --type bool /apps/update-notifier/auto_launch false

Now, restart your system or restart the update-notifier:

$ killall update-notifier
$ update-notifier &
$ disown

If you want to go back to the original state run the following and restart your system ou update-notifier:

$ gconftool -s --type bool /apps/update-notifier/auto_launch true

Monday, June 1, 2009

GNOME Do 0.8.1

It's been almost a year when I last talked about GNOME Do.

GNOME Do is basically a keystroke launcher. This means you can start typing the name of a program or a location and GNOME Do will launch it.

There are also a ton of plugins that allows you to do many other things, like quickly access your bookmarks, run terminal commands, post to twitter, use the calculator, control the sound in your system... Well, your have to see it to believe it.

Install

Add the following to your Software Sources

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
Install GNOME Do

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-do
It's that easy.

How to use GNOME Do

You can find GNOME Do at Applications > Accessories > GNOME Do.

To use GNOME Do you must summon it pressing Super+Space (the Super key is typically the Windows key).

Then just start typing.

Use the Down key to see the several results from what you typed.

Use the Tab key to see the options you have from the result you chose.

Tips

Check the Preferences and choose your favourite plugins.

There are also several themes, but the Docky one is the most interesting because it gives you a very nice dock.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Blog Template

I'm renewing the template on the blog. I'm still working on it, still... what do you think so far?

before
after

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Installing Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix (Asus Eee 1000HE)

I have a new Asus Eee 1000HE. It came with Windows XP, but I want to try out Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

The eee don't have an optical drive, so we need to install it using an usb drive.

The goal is dual booting Windows XP and Ubuntu. I want Eee to become my main Windows machine; this will allow me to format my Desktop machine to have only have Ubuntu (next release with default ext4 filesystem). I use Windows only to sync my iPod Touch so, this is a great solution.

Download and "Burn" a USB Drive

  • Go to Ubuntu Netbook Remix Download Page and download Ubuntu. 
  • Check the downloaded file hash. The output must be the same as you see in the Ubuntu Hashes Page.
$ md5sum ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix-i386.img

Install from usb


It's easy. Boot from the usb drive (check the BIOS) and install like any other Ubuntu release.

This is a tested machine so I didn't play that much with the Live Session.


New Asus Eee 1000HE

Last week I bought a new Asus Eee 1000HE. Who can resist a 10% off the price? :-)

The main feature in this new netbook is, of course, the 9.5 hours of battery life. Amazing!
It came with Windows XP. The next thing was installing Linux. I chose Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix.

Here's some pics I've manage to take with my phone.




Monday, April 27, 2009

Upgrading to Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope (on the Desktop)

After my laptop, is time to upgrade my main machine whith Ubuntu 9.04, codename Jaunty Jackalope.

I will be the using the 32 bit alternate cd to upgrade. This means that the upgrade will have a cd image as his source, and not the Internet. This way it's much faster, I think.

I shouldn't do this during the week, but... oh well...

Before you start


  • Check for updates using Update Manager (be sure to have all the available upgrades done)
  • Backup your data
  • Check the Release Notes
  • Download Ubuntu (I used the Text based “alternate installer” installation disk link to get the alternate image)
  • Check the file hash (example: md5sum ubuntu-9.04-alternate-i386.iso) and compare it to UbuntuHashes
  • Be sure to upgrade from Ubuntu 8.10.
  • Have a burned Live CD laying around, just in case.
  • Use Gmount-iso to mount the iso file. This way cd could be mounted without having to burn a cd.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Upgrading to Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

Yesterday Ubuntu 9.04, codename Jaunty Jackalope, was released.

Time to upgrade :-) First in my laptop.

I will be the using the 64 bit alternate cd to upgrade. This means that the upgrade will have a cd image as his source, and not the Internet. This way it's much faster, I think.

I considered a clean install in order to create ext4 partitions, but after reading around I decided not to, because I saw some "your data may be lost" comments.

ext4 is not the default filesystem in Ubuntu 9.04, so you don't need to think about it. Clean intall or upgrade you're good to go.

Before you start

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Virtualbox 2.2

Following previous posts about installing Virtualbox, here's the 2.2 update (currently 2.2.0).

If you have a previous version already installed you need to manually install the new one.

The most exciting addition is 3D acceleration for Linux guests, ie, Compiz. Yes sir :-)

Install

  • Go to System > Administration > Software Sources and Third-Party Software.
  • Add the following sources for Intrepid (check your distribution here)
  • Download and register Sun authentication key
$ wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Be sure your source list is updated
$ sudo apt-get update
  • Be sure you have dkms installed (so Virtualbox host kernel is automatically updated as you update your system kernel)
$ sudo apt-get install dkms
  • Install Virtualbox 2.2
$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.2
  • Logoff and login again
  • Start Virtualbox at Applications > System Tools > Sun xVM VirtualBox
  • If you have a Windows Virtual Machine don't forget to install the Guest Additions (after starting the virtual machine go to Devices > Install Guest Additions).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Formating a partition in NTFS

If you need to format a partition in NTFS and you are using GParted, just install ntfsprogs.
  • Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager
  • Search for ntfsprogs
  • Rigth click and Mark for Installation
That's it. You should see only greens in the NTFS line in GParted > Show Features.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Get files and control your machine with Dropbox

After talking with a friend about how he was using Dropbox to add new torrent files in is home computer, from work, I got excited with the potential of the idea.

Dropbox, is a multiplatform tool that allows you to sync and share files online across computers. If you save a file in your home computer, when you turn on your computer at work, for example, that file will be automatically synced if you have Dropbox installed. It also have a web interface, so you don't even need to install it.

If you don't know it, definitely check it out.

Control your machine with Dropbox

What I will show, is a way to control your home computer from, for example, your workplace, using Dropbox.

Here's two scenarios:
  1. You need a document you have at home, but it is not in your Dropbox share

  2. You want to download  the latest Ubuntu torrent so when you get home the download is finished

Both this scenarios have the same solution: use a combination of Dropbox, crontab, shell scripts and a config file.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Virtualbox 2.1

Following previous posts about installing Virtualbox, here's the 2.1 update (currently 2.1.2).

If you have 2.0 already installed you need to manually install the new version.


Install

  • Go to System > Administration > Software Sources and Third-Party Software.
  • Add the following sources for Intrepid (check your distribution here)
  • Download and register Sun authentication key
wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Be sure your source list is updated
$ sudo apt-get update
  • Be sure you have dkms installed (so Virtualbox host kernel is automatically updated as you update your system kernel)
$ sudo apt-get install dkms
  • Install Virtualbox 2.1
$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.1
  • Logoff and login again

  • Start Virtualbox at Applications > System Tools > Sun xVM VirtualBox

  • If you have a Windows Virtual Machine don't forget to install the Guest Additions (after starting the virtual machine go to Devices > Install Guest Additions).

Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference

Great book about Ubuntu. Ideal if you are new to Linux and Ubuntu.

http://www.ubuntupocketguide.com/

You can download the PDF version for free or buy it online.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Migration to Squarespace

I just changed my blog to Squarespace.


I had already posted about this service, and now, finally I've changed. If you don't know it yet check out the video in the front page and sign for a trial account. You'll only need an email account to do so.


Sign the new guestbook and let me now what you think about the new looks.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Reduce brightness on HP Pavilion dv5-1020ep (Ubuntu 8.10 64 bits)

My brightness function keys always worked, but suddenly they stopped working as well as the "Reduce backlight brightness" option in Power Management Preferences :(
Every time I unplugged my power cord the monitor dimmed automatically. Now not even with the function keys I get my brightness down.

This happened in my HP Pavilion dv5-1020ep running Ubuntu 8.10 64 bits.

Here some additional info after searching in the Ubuntu forums and Google:
$ grep . -r /var/lib/acpi-support/*-*
/var/lib/acpi-support/bios-version:F.20
/var/lib/acpi-support/system-manufacturer:Hewlett-Packard
/var/lib/acpi-support/system-product-name:HP Pavilion dv5 Notebook PC
/var/lib/acpi-support/system-version:Rev 1
$ more /proc/acpi/video/DVGA/LCD/brightness
<not supported>
$ sudo echo -n 5 > /proc/acpi/video/DVGA/LCD/brightness
bash: /proc/acpi/video/DVGA/LCD/brightness: Permission denied
This happened either after a kernel or hal update...

I found a workaround, that allow the brightness to be changed. This isn't the fix, if I unplug the power cord the brightness keeps it's value. Still, the function keys do their job...

Just add acpi_osi="Linux" to your grub menu:
$ sudo vi /boot/grub/menu.lstitle Ubuntu 8.10, kernel 2.6.27-11-generic
title Ubuntu 8.10, kernel 2.6.27-11-generic
root (hd0,2)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-11-generic root=UUID=cba317f7-1d97-4cf8-9ac8-a4a6aaf0ea81 ro quiet splash acpi_osi="Linux"
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-11-generic
quiet